Tuesday, April 17, 2007

2007 Orange Prize for Fiction Shortlist

QUITE A STRONG line-up of nominees for the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction this time round. Kiran Desai is the winner of the 2006 Booker Prize for The Inheritance of Loss (2006). Rachel Cusk is the 1993 Whitbread First Novel Award winner for Saving Agnes (1993). Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the winner of the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Best First Book Prize for Purple Hibiscus (2003) while Anne Tyler won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Breathing Lessons (1988). Jane Harris is the only newcomer with her first novel, The Observations (2006), an assured first novel made all the more entertaining by the plot twists in a Victorian setting and the compelling voice of its protagonist, a young Irish maid and her thoughts on the strange goings-on in a mansion that has seen better days in provincial Scotland. I think Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Anne Tyler stand very good chances of winning the prize. Tyler has come a long way. I remember first reading Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982) 25 years ago; this book of hers was shortlisted for the 1982 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.

Half of a Yellow Sun (Fourth Estate, 2006) / Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
Arlington Park (Faber, 2006) / Rachel Cusk (Britain)
The Inheritance of Loss (Hamish Hamilton, 2006) / Kiran Desai (India)
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (Chatto & Windus, 2006) / Xiaolu Guo (China)
The Observations (Faber, 2006) / Jane Harris (Britain)
Digging to America (Chatto & Windus, 2006) / Anne Tyler (U.S.)

The winner will be announced on June 6, 2007


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